Desert Regional Remembers Bus Crash Victims, Honors Caregivers

Desert Regional Remembers Bus Crash Victims, Honors Caregivers

Martín Di Felice


It has been 25 years since a school bus filled with girl scouts coming down from the tram in Palm Springs veered off the road. The crash killed seven people and injured many others. Those victims were memorialized and those who came to the victim’s aid were honored in a special event Monday night.

Although it has been a quarter century since that deadly crash, the disaster remains fresh in the memories of many. It seems like just yesterday. "I was fifteen years old and it never crossed my mind that something like that could happen," bus crash survivor Jamie Harriott said. Twenty five years ago, on July 31,1991. To many, it is known as the largest civilian disaster that has ever occurred in the Coachella Valley. A school bus filled with girl scouts from all across the country veered off the tramway road and overturned into a ditch in Palm Springs.

Forty seven people were injured and seven lost their lives. "As soon as the bus went down, everything just turned slow motion and went silent," Harriott said. Even former Palm Springs mayor Sunny Bono assisted first responders at the scene that night.

Twenty five years later, Desert Regional Medical Center memorialized those who lost their lives.  "It is very endearing to me that her spirit still lives on, with a plaque with the names on it of those that were lost," Jeff Burnham, brother of Jennifer Burnham who was killed by the crash, said. Those who provided the critical care to the victims, were also honored. "We received, I believe,  23 or 24 of the most critically injured in about 25 minutes, by land and by air, we served many many patients that day," explained medical director of Desert Regional Medical Center’s Trauma and Critical Care Dr. Frank Ercoli.

Survivors of the crash say  they are thankful for all the outpouring support they received that day. They say they will never forget the love the palm springs community shared with them.